Tamatha Paul on her goals for 2024

By Nadia Shaw-Owens

Tamatha Paul is no stranger to being first – the first in her whānau to attend university, the first Māori woman to lead the Victoria University of Wellington Students Association, and now, the first Māori MP for Wellington Central, as well as the youngest MP for the Green Party.

Paul’s humble beginnings began in Tokoroa, where her father drove trucks and her mother worked as an aged care worker. Paul first showed Wellington a glimpse of her leadership skills when she was elected President of the Victoria University of Wellington Students Association, working on issues of climate change, sexual violence and mental health. After graduating at age 22, Paul was elected into the Wellington City Council. As a city councillor, Paul succeeded in tripling the housing capacity of the city, secured $200m for a connected city-wide cycleway network, restored Māori place names, raised $10m for the Pōneke Promise project to make the town safer from sexual violence, and much more.

Paul’s incredible successes as councillor made us all the more excited to see her win the seat for Wellington Central in the 2023 election, after running the largest grassroots Green electorate campaign in history – making more than 40,000 phone calls and raising $100,000. Let’s see what she has in store for us in 2024.

What is…

A challenge you overcame in 2023?

Winning my seat in Wellington Central was definitely the biggest challenge of my lifetime so far! Running one of the biggest grassroots political campaigns in Aotearoa while being a city councillor was challenging, but it was also a massive opportunity to unite our community. I’m really excited by the energy in our city and our hunger for justice.

A professional goal for the upcoming year?

I have lots of goals for my first year of being a Member of Parliament but I’m most excited to put forward my first Bill which will put a stake in the ground that housing is a human right for all. It’s going to be a big year of learning for me, but I am determined to represent our city. Particularly around honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and demanding urgent climate action so that future generations might enjoy the same things that we take for granted today.

A trend you anticipate seeing in your industry this year?

This year will be the year of protest and organising our people so that we can stand up and fight back. I think that people will be more politically active than they have ever been because so much is at stake.

A piece of advice for women wanting to start in your industry?

Now is the time to get involved and to speak up! Kaua e whakamaa, don’t be afraid to use your voice!

Read the full article in Volume 2 of WOMAN Magazine, on sale until 27 May 2024.

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